After tasting some success in the commuter segment with the Discover brand, Bajaj Auto is set to launch a new generation of both its Discover and Pulsar brands. Managing director Rajiv Bajaj said that a “completely new line up of these two brands will be launched during the second half of 2011-12”. He said that “there will be more than one of each” which will replace most the current variants of the Pulsar and Discover
The company is also planning to launch a Kawasaki bigger than the currently available 250cc Ninja, while “more than one” models of KTM will be introduced in the market later this year. It has started exporting the Duke 125 – the first Indian-made KTM bike to Europe. Bajaj says the bike, priced at 4,000 Euros, has already got bookings of 5,000 units. Around 2,000 bikes have been exported in the first batch. Exports at Bajaj Auto crossed a major milestone in 2010-11 by crossing the million units mark at 1.20 million vehicles. This helped the company touch the billion-dollar mark from its exports business. A 20 percent growth in exports is being targeted at Bajaj Auto, according to Rajiv Bajaj.
The number 20 seems to be the current favourite figure for Bajaj as that’s what the company is targeting for growth in two-wheelers and three-wheelers this year and maintain the industry leading EBITDA margin of 20 percent. Its spare parts business too is expected to grow at 20 percent and contribute Rs 1,500 crore to revenues. While Bajaj is set to continue leading the auto pack in terms of profitability, the 20 percent margin is not sacrosanct, warns Bajaj. Depending on market conditions, the figure may dip as well. He says that the company’s sights are now growing “qualitatively” with its new branding strategy which will be visible at the retail end by June this year.
Four-wheeler plan on track
Bajaj’s much talked about low cost ‘car’ is yet to wear the name that customers will call it by. That is because it is not clear yet whether it will be sold by Renault, Nissan or Bajaj Auto. As per the agreement between Bajaj Auto and the Renault-Nissan alliance, Bajaj Auto will develop and build the ‘four-wheeler’, as Rajiv Bajaj would prefer to call it, and Renault-Nissan will market it. Rajiv Bajaj said that the prototype is ready and he drove it last month.
“In terms of appearance, performance and cost, the product is in place. I love the way it looks,” Bajaj had said in an interview that appeared in the February 1 issue of this magazine. He had also said that the stated target of 30kpl and the cost that will deliver 20 percent EBIDTA have also been achieved.
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